UK Policing Minister, Sarah Everard Vigil Organizer Say Police Chief Should Keep Post

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th March, 2021) UK Minister of State for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse and one of the organizers of Sarah Everard's vigil, which ended in brutal clashes between mourners and police officers, have both spoken against the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Monday.

The vigil for Everard, murdered by a police officer, took place this past Saturday at a park in south London close to where the 33-year-old was last seen alive. The Met refused to authorize the gathering, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Officers told the crowd to disperse and eventually began arresting those refusing to comply. Officials such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Home Secretary Priti Patel publicly criticized Dick for failing to explain why officers clashed with peaceful demonstrators. The Met chief refused to resign, however.

"We are a movement of women seeking to support and empower other women, and as one of the most senior women in British policing history, we do not want to add to the pile-on," vigil organizer Anna Birley told the ITV's Good Morning Britain show.

Malthouse also declined to back the demands for Dick to resign, telling the Sky news broadcaster that police were "in an incredibly difficult position."

One of the arrested vigil attendees, Patsy Stevenson, whose photo of being handcuffed went viral, told Sky News she was "terrified," as a law enforcement officer taking her away said he had a baton.

"I just stood there and a police officer was pulling my arm, trying to get my name and then I was tackled to the ground. As I was being taken away, behind me one of the officers that was holding on to me was saying 'I've got my hand on my baton, I've got my hand on my baton' to one of the other officers," Stevenson said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a meeting with law enforcement representatives later on Monday to discuss steps to protect women and girls in the wake of Everard's murder. The meeting will be attended by ministers, senior police officers and representatives of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, disappeared on the evening of March 3. Her body was found dumped in a builder's bag in a woodland area in Ashford, Kent this past Wednesday. Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens was charged with murder and kidnapping and appeared in court on Saturday morning.